Discover more from Thinking Loud
It has always been home
Pressure to change when what we have is just fine.
Hey everyone. First off, I duplicated an entire section between the week before and the last. I was testing you all, and you all failed. Well, really, I write these way too late.
Quote of the week:
Be like a sculptor. Seek feedback in the clay stages. Don’t wait until your project is figuratively bronzed to get keen eyes on it.” — Max Yoder (Do Better Work)
Change and comfort are like Batman and the Joker. In a weird twisted way, they live in a vicious harmony. Change brings exciting adventures but also uncertainty.
Comfort brings relief and safety but often becomes stale.
I relentlessly cursed my last apartment since the day I moved into it. And despite now being in a much better place, I find myself missing the weird oddities I had become comfortable with. The slow elevator, the key that never quite worked well, and even the spontaneously variable shower temperature.
I didn’t even get to say good-bye to the nice man next door.
I often wonder whether or not change is always a positive thing.
Simon Sarris wrote on how familiarity is a misunderstood virtue. I’m inclined to agree. Most of my peers obsess over week long vacations to exotic areas — for no other reason than partying and clout — and forget about the beauty of home. When I visit my childhood town in New Jersey, they talk about leaving. When I visit my friends back in Michigan, they often complain about the city while I marvel in its beauty.
But I wasn’t always like that, I longed for change and subsequently moved to Denver. It’s all kind of funny really, I’ve had to move around a lot my whole life. Yet, I find myself trying to find some semblance of familiarity each time. Many other people are just like this: they buy little house plants, they make new friends, keep up with the old, and establish a routine. For awhile it’s new, until it isn’t.
When I visit New Jersey I do this dorky thing where I go out of my way to visit my childhood house and see how it’s doing. It has been abandoned for some time now and it feels like every year is harder on it than the last. The last time I visited, I stopped by the old antique store up the road.
The same one I parked a lemonade stand in front of when I was younger:
I let the older gentleman know that I had grown up on the street and missed it dearly. He surmised it perfectly - “yeah, it’s not perfect here, but it has always been home.”
Because of the inane obsession with vanity travel, I think many have become uncomfortable to admit that home isn’t so bad. You’re around your friends, you might have a reliable mechanic, and you have a local ecosystem you can easily be a part of.
Nat Eliason, founder of Growth Machine, wrote a blog about his year as a nomad. He worked for about 20 hours over three months and worked when he wanted, where he wanted. He lived the dream of most of modern America.
And even now he still asserts: Wherever you go - there you are. You’ll always reduce to a baseline of happiness, so you’re better off trying to address different things. Now, he dedicates his time to his community in Austin and doesn’t have an urge to uproot.
New homes are the best way to draw this up, but change isn’t exclusive to your geography. We often grow bored of our careers and seek out new adventure, we decide that friends no longer suit us, we experiment with new clothing styles or explore different eating habits. It’s everywhere, but it doesn’t always have to be.
Sometimes, change is great. Like I said, trying new foods, being creative, learning new things, or cutting out toxicity. Sometimes, it’s necessary.
Otherwise, there’s a case to be made for appreciating what you have and not fantasizing on things for the sake of leveling up. You shouldn’t feel bad that Jacob moved to Miami and you’re stuck in your hometown. There’s a ton of comfortable quirks that make home not so bad. Illustratively, my rent was a hell of a lot cheaper before.
And maybe a past classmate runs their own company and it might make your career positioning not feel so great. Comparison is the thief of joy - maybe your less senior job affords you more time with your family or time to blog on the internet.
There’s really three things I’m getting at here:
We all love home and I don’t think we really want to admit it.
There’s value appreciating comfort in areas of our life. It’s okay to not move onto the next best thing when your thing is just fine.
Change is often necessary. It’s essential to expand your worldview and marvelous to experience life in different ways. However, it does not always need to be an action item. Find ways to appreciate the things you have. It affords you more time to focus on doing the things you already do exceptionally well.
Hopefully, and ultimately, more time to pause for a brief moment and appreciate our short lives just a little more.
It’s not perfect here, but it’s always been home. Where ever you go - there you are. The grass is greener where you water it.
Whatever, you get it.
Learning new things
I’ve wrote in the past about how I feel like I’m still learning how to learn. It’s an ever evolving process for me. My attention is particularly bad, so it’s an entire process.
I also wrote in the past that I think daily exercise of the habit and journaling is an effective supporting function. I still agree with that, but it’s tough to keep up on. I think everyone should try, but I’ve struggled with the daily exercise.
Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of chess and learning guitar again. I’ve adjusted my approach and it has been extremely effective! A few thoughts…
When someone you know is particularly good at something, lean into their methods and process to learn. Illustratively, Steven and my friend Alex gave me some really great advice on learning chess. The best part? Much of the advice overlapped - which is a great indicator that’s a solid starting point!
Address mistakes swiftly and with great succession. When playing a chord doesn’t sound right on my guitar, I look to immediately address it. It’s frustrating because I will strum the same chord for an entire session but eventually it’s muscle memory. I picked this up from the book The Talent Code, where it discusses the idea of deep learning, which involves “struggling in certain targeted ways—operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes—[that’s what] makes you smarter.”
You have to make time for it.
Wishing you and yours a great week,